Cyber Defenders

img-studentproj-cyberdef-photosImagine 16 grueling hours of protecting your network from a group of highly sophisticated hackers.

That’s exactly how students on MSOE’s Cyber Defense Team spent their free time. In 2013, the team of computer students finished in second place at the Midwest Regional Cyber Defense Competition. They earned a spot at the regional competition by qualifying at the state level.

The 16-hour competition focused on the operational aspect of managing and protecting an existing commercial network infrastructure. Students demonstrated their knowledge in an operational environment by securing the network from a team of professional hackers, while performing business tasks and keeping business services online. The Midwest CCDC offered a unique opportunity for students and industry professionals to interact and discuss many of the security and operational challenges the students will face as they enter the job market.  Unlike traditional “hack and defend” or “capture the flag” contests, this competition tested each team’s ability to operate, secure, manage and maintain a corporate network.

The MSOE team was sponsored by the Rader School of Business and included students from the computer engineering, management information systems and software engineering degree programs.  The regional “Cyber Defense” team included: James Thurber (Team Captain – MIS), Nick Gorden (MIS), Thomas Gulke (MIS), Ryan Miller (MIS), Gregory Peyton (MIS), Grant Ridder (CE), and Tyler Tiegs (CE). Joining the team at the state qualifying event were Mike Pancani (CE) and Ryan Ponstein (SE).

The nine-state Midwest Regional CCDC is sponsored annually by the National Resource Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance (CSSIA) with funding from the National Science Foundation. 2013 was the first year MSOE participated in the competition. More than 50 teams participated in the state event, and 10 teams qualified for the regional event.